Bright yellow flowers sign of hope in support of hospice
March 7, 2019
Skies might be grey and snow might be falling, but next week, Craig will fill with the first flowers of spring — daffodils — sold to support the hospice program at Northwest Colorado Health in a tradition started by Steamboat Springs florist Susanne Bostrom in 1993.
Her father, Bob Kane, was under hospice care when he died of pancreatic cancer in 1992.
"It was my first experience with hospice," Bostrom said in a 2008 interview with Steamboat Pilot & Today. "He was able to die in front of the fireplace."
The following year, she began the daffodil fundraiser to benefit the American Cancer Society and sold 500 bunches of flowers.
The year after that, she began selling to benefit what is now the Northwest Colorado Health Hospice program. By 2018, the number of flowers sold had grown 5,500 bunches.
Hospice is not the end
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Hospice is recommended when a person with a prognosis of six months or less to live decides to stop actively seeking treatment.
"Hospice is not the end. It's choosing quality over quality — choosing to be home with family and as comfortable as possible," said Mary Dean Stevenson, Northwest Colorado Health Home Health and Hospice nurse of seven years.
One of her favorite quotes is: "The goal of hospice care is to reduce physical pain, create emotional well-being, and enhance spiritual peace."
Sometimes, that leads to healing.
"We've had some people that are 'graduates.' They end up getting better and no longer meet hospice requirements and are transferred to home health before discharge," Stevenson said.
Stevenson has also experienced hospice from the client side, as two of her family members received hospice care.
"We not only provide nurses assisting with pain management and comfort-related measures, but we also have medical social workers that can help a family deal with paperwork to help make sure people have their affairs in order. Bereavement councilors assist the family with the grief prior to the loved one being gone and after. Certified nursing assistants help with personal care and respite services to allow the family to take a break as a caregiver," Stevenson said.
Some hospice services are included under most insurance, and Medicare and most Medicaid has options.
"We do not turn people away based on their ability to pay," Stevenson said
Funds from daffodil sales help offset costs for patients without insurance and services not covered.
"There often is a shortfall between what a client is able to pay or what their insurance covers and the overall cost of care," NWCH Marketing Coordinator Tamera Manzanares wrote in an email. "Insurance also doesn't cover any grief support, which we provide to families for up to a year after their loved one has passed."
Daffodils offer hope
Asked why she chose the daffodil, Bostrom said, "It's the first flower of spring. It's the first flower of hope."
Northwest Colorado Health's annual Hospice Daffodils fundraiser is set for March 12 with bunches of flowers on sale that day at City Market.
"Fundraisers such as Daffodils and an amazing group of volunteers make it possible for us to provide hospice care available to all residents in our valley who need these services," Manzanares said.
Daffodils are $5 per bunch, $24 for five bunches, and $46 for 10 bunches.
Daffodils may be ordered in advance online at northwestcoloradohealth.org/daffodils until the evening of Friday, March 8.
Delivery is available for orders of 10 bunches or more, and deliveries will be made March 11 and 12.
Daffodils will also be sold March 12 at Northwest Colorado Health, 745 Russell Street. Orders may also be picked up Tuesday at the same location.
For more information, call 970-871-7609.
"I think that hospice is a rough situation to deal with, but you are giving your loved ones the best possible care at the worst time of their lives," Stevenson said.
Contact Sasha Nelson at 970-875-1794 or snelson@CraigDailyPress.com.